Skip to main content

Object-to-Picture Matching for Montessori Toddlers

When I think about object-to-picture matching, It feels like one of the most quintessential Montessori materials. It's just use so frequently that I immediately think "Montessori" when I see it. 

It's also one of those activities that can keep a wide range of children happy. There are times when Henry at 4/5-years-old has enjoyed matching pictures and objects. I'm just focusing on toddlers here, though. 


This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.

Like object-to-object matching, object-to-picture matching has some very important benefits for toddlers. One, it again helps with vocabulary, moving from left-to-right and providing order. However, object-to-picture matching also helps toddlers to explore abstraction. 


In other words, it helps toddlers start to make the connection that what they hold in their hand is the same as what they see on the picture. The picture of an apple is an apple, and the apple they are holding is an apple. This sort of abstract thinking is essential for reading. And, this work easily helps toddlers make those connections.


Object-to-picture matching does not have to be difficult to set up! Nora (21-month-old) is just starting to show an interest in this type of work. For this post, I set up a few examples, although I typically would only have one of this work out at a time. In an ideal world, this work would include objects and matching cards. The cards would be the exact same as the objects (down to the size). This is extremely difficult to find so might not be possible in a home setting. So, I use what I have access to.


In my case, I make a lot of my own cards by taking pictures of the objects. Or, sometimes, I use premade flashcards. I try to keep them to just the picture, and no words, but that's not always possible either.

For Nora, I made three simple trays. The first was matching Schleich farm animals to an over sized set of farm flashcards. These flashcards are some of my favorite but sadly they don't make them any more. 

Next, was matching fresh fruit to another set of flashcards {from an Etsy shop that closed.} These had words, but the pictures are beautiful and real. 

Finally I made a set of cards to match birds with their pictures. Those beautiful cards are a printable from my good friend Amy at Midwest Montessori


There are so many possibilities when it comes to object-to-picture matching. Again, I completely recommend following your child's interests. Does you child like cars? Then use cars! For Nora, its animals, so we are heavy on animals. Other ideas would include: 


Remember that this work is again about exploration, not perfection. The focus should always be on the process and not the product. If you notice, Nora did not match very many correctly from the fruit or farm trays. She really liked the bird work which will stay on her shelves for now! I didn't correct her, or lead her exploration. I set her free and let her come up with how she would use! 

Next up in the matching series -- Picture-to-Picture matching! If you missed the first part of this series, see it here: Object-to-Object Matching.

Does your child enjoy object-to-picture matching? Have you noticed this is an activity that they enjoy for a long time?  

If you liked this post, don't miss: Zoology Sensory Bottles for Montessori Babies

Comments

Anonymous said…
Such a favourite activity at my house too! Started around 20 months and at 3 years my daughter still loves these! I used two different types of cards. The first set was identical, such as what you have with the birds, and the second set was similar, so what you have with the farm animals. It's difficult to actually get identical so I only have a few of these but the child is typically more successful with these at first and are a great stepping stone in the process of abstraction. It's really awesome to see the child go from matching the green car to the identical green car picture, and then later match the green car to a similar car picture such as a blue car. This leads to the understanding that cars can be many colours, shapes, etc. but they are still a car.
Amber Prince said…
I would love to try this when our baby gets 2-3 years old. This is such fun activity and of course a great way to develop their skills.

Popular Posts

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List -- Birth to Five -- UPDATED 2019

When you are interested in Montessori, it can be difficult to know exactly what types of products you should get for your home. Or which types of "Montessori" materials are really worth the price. There are no rules about types of products can use the name Montessori which can add to the confusion. Not to mention, every toy manufacturer slaps the word "educational" on the package for good measure!

2019 UPDATE: This post has been updated to include a variety of brands and new product finds! Just a reminder that no one child will be interested in all of this or needs all of this. These toys are just here to spark ideas and give you a feeling for some Montessori-friendly options available! 


So, with this post, I'm going to try to help with this confusion! Here's a list of Montessori-friendly toys and materials for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. 


First, let's clarify that there is no such thing as a "Montessori toy." Montessori never created to…

Which Open-Ended Toys are "Worth it?"

As a Montessori parent, I try to provide a mix of materials in our home to engage my kids! That work that will spark joy, concentration, and repetition. It's not always an easy task, as Maria Montessori said, "Life is mysterious...only the choice of life can choose the work that the child truly needs. Therefore, the teacher respects this mysterious process and knows to wait with faith." So, there does sometimes feel like there is a bit of trial and error when it comes to choosing materials that your children need. 

For us, the right balance is easier to find when I spend time deeply observing my children. Watching their interests, sitting on my hands if I have to, letting them struggle a little with things, and letting them get bored. And what I have personally found is that here at home, a combination of open ended materials and more structured work have been the right balance. Open ended toys wouldn't necessarily be found in a Montessori classroom, but they are perf…

A Montessori Approach to Purging Your Toys

Becoming a Montessori family has been life changing in so many ways, most obviously with the amount and type of materials we use in our home. Once you see why having so many toys is a problem, or when you make the decision to move towards Montessori, it can be completely overwhelming. But, taking a Montessori approach to purging your toys is possible! And, it doesn't exactly mean that you have to throw away everything you have and start over with only expensive wooden toys. It will mean taking a hard look at what you have and whether it really fits with Montessori.


One note, however, Montessori is at its core about following your child's own path and respecting your child as a whole person. So, if your child has a toy, lovey, book, or whatever that your child super loves or is super attached to, but it doesn't fit Montessori ideals, don't take it away. Follow your child, that is more Montessori than whether or not you own some specific consumer product. 
How to Purge You…